Resisting Inequity: Language as Power and Right

The School Improvement Office and the Dearborn EL Department members teamed up to attend the 2018 National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) 47th Annual Conference.  The NABE is a non-profit membership organization that works to advocate for educational equity and excellence for bilingual/multilingual students in a global society.  Our teams had the opportunity to attend several high-quality sessions that focused on improving instructional practices for linguistically and culturally diverse children.

One of the highlights of the conference was the keynote session by Saul Ramirez. Mr. Ramirez is the chess coach and art teacher at Henderson Middle School in El Paso, Texas, where he coached his students to win the national chess championships in 2015 and 2016. Ramirez grew up in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio, one of the poorest zip codes in the United States, and discovered chess as a child, which became a pathway out of misfortune.  This amazing middle school teacher believed in his students when no one else did. Two students from the winning team shared their stories of struggle and courage and how playing chess helped change their lives. Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the 2,000 seat auditorium. The story of their championship journey is chronicled in the book The Champions’ Game.

Another valuable session that we attended focused upon online educational resources available ​for teachers at no cost.  Here’s the description from this worthwhile session: When English language learners are placed in your mainstream classroom, it’s a huge challenge for them…and for you.  What is out there that can help you reach your student’s families, teach literacy skills, academic content, and English at the same time?  Join us for the latest research and FREE resources on Colorin Colorado. The website is sponsored by the AFT and is filled with a wealth of information for all teachers and parents to explore while working with children.  Here’s the link to the website:  http://www.colorincolorado.org/

​​The EL and SIP teams are excited to implement some of these best practices with our Dearborn students and teachers. ​

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